Pistons invite Vernon Hamilton to training camp, pending release

Vernon Hamilton tweeted Friday:

EVERYONE RETWEET THIS. IM PROUD TO SAY THE DETROIT PISTONS OFFICIALLY SIGNED ME TO THE TEAM TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MEDIA DAY MONDAY.

But a couple hours ago, he tweeted:

So I can’t attend Media Day Today because the ukraine offices where I last played have not sent my release to sign with Detroit yet.

Keith Langlois of Pistons.com provides more details:

Jeremy (Kelowna, B.C.): Who is Vernon Hamilton and what are his chances of making the team? He seems like a great perimeter defender, but we have 15 players under contract, so what is the purpose of inviting him to camp?

Langlois: Hamilton, who like Pistons coach John Kuester is out of Richmond, Va., came to training camp with Cleveland two years ago when Kuester was an assistant coach there. Hamilton wrote on his Twitter account over the weekend that he had been signed to a contract and would be at Media Day. The Cavs loved his on-the-ball defense there and felt he made training camp a more competitive environment. Since the Pistons only have two veteran point guards on the roster (Rodney Stuckey, Will Bynum), they might have decided for numbers purposes it would be best to have another body at that spot in camp. We’ll find out more later this afternoon at Media Day. Check back with Pistons.com during our live chat.

Looking at Hamilton’s EuroBasket profile, one thing stands out: his steals. He averaged five steals in eight games in a Swiss league (which Patrick said isn’t a great league). Hamilton also averaged 1.7 steals in three games in what Patrick called a really good Ukrainian league.

My first thought was Hamilton gambles too much, and that might be the case. But give that Langlois said the Cavs loved his on-ball defense, maybe not. I’m certainly intrigued.

When Joe Dumars talked this summer about transforming his team for the new NBA, I was a little put off. Dumars talked about the importance of getting to the basket off the dribble and wanting to get players who could do that. What about guys who can prevent the opponent from getting to the basket? Isn’t that valuable? If the Pistons are a defense-first organization, why didn’t Dumars emphasize that side of the equation?

Maybe Hamilton, a 25-year-old point guard from Clemson, will have value as a stopper for the league’s deep crop of young and talented point guards. Or maybe he’ll just be an extra body for training camp. My bet is on the latter, but because I love defense so much, I’m hoping for the former.

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